“Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah’” (Matthew 17:4).
Mountaintop experiences, as the transfiguration event was for the disciples, are important and necessary. They represent times of profound inspiration and influence in our relationship with the Lord. We must never allow them, however, to become an end, in and of themselves. They are but a means to a end. The Christian life must always maintain a proper balance between worship and work; inspiration and perspiration. Mountaintops are meaningful only as they inspire for the work to be found in the valley below.
“Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8).
Life’s best energy is spent constructing and building an identity. This is seen in how people build a resume, a career, or a financial portfolio. Any measure of success in this pursuit dies with the individual unless it is accompanied by the awareness that we are also building our obituary. The construction of one’s obituary is accomplished when life is pursued with a sense of mortality, ultimate accountability before God, and the desire to perpetuate the virtuous qualities of faith such as honesty, integrity, bravery, fairness, kindness, charity, justice, etc. The most meaningful legacy is left not to those you desired to impress in this lifetime but those who will weep at your funeral.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
The peddlers of the heretical and uniquely American “health, wealth, prosperity” gospel would have you believe that your physical, financial, and social well-being is quantitatively linked to faith. That is, just having enough. A qualitative faith, however, rooted in the historical teachings of scripture can find no such assurances. In fact, scripture would teach otherwise. The nature of a genuine, biblical faith is brimming with neither optimism nor pessimism but, rather, hope-filled realism. Real faith finds its Citadel not in the ever-changing conditions of the world, but in the One who has overcome the world.
“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40).
The double love commandment—loving God and loving others (v.37, 39)—is the summation upon which everything hangs in relating to our heavenly Father and carrying out his purposes in the world. This message of God’s redeeming love, and his loving presence in the lives of his people, is often blocked by religion. However, the external religious performance that deceives men does not fool God. Biblical faith produces an internal devotion that will accomplish a loving external expression, while religious biblicism breeds only arrogance and a watchdog vigilance characterized by anger.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law” (Matthew 22:36)?
With the Law of Moses having evolved into 613 commandments (248 positive commands; 365 prohibitions), according to one rabbinical tradition, it’s little wonder that what’s most important becomes lost. There were even those who argued that the directives regarding fringes on the priestly garments were the most important commandments. Beneath the weight of such over-bearing religious minutiae is the greater tragedy—no transformation of heart. Having the right information about God means nothing when we are wrong-hearted towards others.
“One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law’” (Matthew 23: 35-36).
“Testing Him.” What arrogance!! The Pharisees are “Exhibit A” of the ills of religious biblicism…an extremist elevation of the sacred text to a place of idolatrous fanaticism. These “keepers” of The Word are easily recognized by their elitist demeanor and exclusive theology. In contrast, biblical faith produces a humility and a God-sized theology bigger than any neat, tidy, controllable box that you or I would seek to force him into.
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17).
I believe every individual arrives, eventually, to a point of introspection where they ask the question of how to best utilize the life they have been given. While medical science seeks to extend the human life span, it is through the Great Physician that we discover the principals for a meaningful life. A well-managed life is one that does all things to the glory of the Father. It drives our words; our actions; our decisions.